A group monitoring anti-Semitism in Germany is calling on the operators of a popular cell phone application to take action, after it discovered neo-Nazis have begun using a new feature in the application to spread pro-Nazi images.
Recently, the popular Whatsapp messenger service – which is owned by the social media giant Facebook – added a new feature, allowing users to upload custom digital images or “stickers”, and share them with fellow users.
Shortly after the new feature debuted, however, far-right nationalists and neo-Nazi groups in Germany began using the Whatsapp sticker system to create and spread pro-Nazi images.
The Jewish Forum for Democracy and Against Anti-Semitism (JFDA) said neo-Nazis and white supremacists were using the sticker function to flood group chats with hateful symbols.
"Just after WhatsApp makes it possible to create and use stickers, right-wing extremists flood their group chats with hateful Nazi symbols," the JFDA said in a tweet last Thursday.
Whatsapp condemned the use of the new stickers function, and told the German Bild newspaper it encouraged users to file complaints over the use of illegal content. Public displays of Nazi symbols are banned in Germany.
"These anti-Semitic stickers are unacceptable and we do not want them in WhatsApp. We strongly condemn this hatred. If users get stickers with illegal content, we ask them to report it. We will act accordingly against it, even to the extent of blocking the accounts from which they were sent."